The 10th hundred.Â Each time I release my grip on one of those C-notes I feel a loosening in the grip that money has on my spirit. Just a little. I remember clearly this day, visiting my son Elijah in Boston. I had a revelation that, just maybe, money was something to be let go rather than clung to. What would that be like? It went against everything I had been taught and come to believe. I felt the foreshadowing of a profound shift in perspective.
Lynne Twist talks about this in her book, The Soul of Money. I read the book recently and found some of it very meaningful. She talks about money as something of which we should be stewards rather than gatherers. In her world, it’s no accident that money is referred to as currency. It flows. Sometimes in a trickle, and sometimes like a rushing river. Toward you, and away. And back again.
Thinking about all of this has been freeing in some sense, but also adds to a sense of weightiness with each decision. Walking around today with a $100 bill in my pocket, I felt self-conscious. Conscious of self. Overly conscious. Like I was suffering from giver’s block.
I walked by a bus stop and saw a beautiful woman and young child. I said hello to the woman, who smiled. “No English,” she shrugged. I imagined they could have used the $100, and it felt almost selfish to turn away. But I wanted a connection, and that takes conversation. I watched the bus pull away, as the little girl watched me.
Then I ran into a friend who is traveling to Africa this weekend. The trip will be profound, for her as well as those she encounters. On an impulse, I pulled the C-note from my pocket. ” Will you please take this with you?” Tears in her eyes, she said she would take it and use it for good.
Getting out of my car later, outside the train station, a man came up to me and asked if he could wash my windows. “I’ll take whatever you can give me,” he offered. One of the station employees appeared and told him to leave me alone. To me she said, “These people harass everyone. They are a nuisance.” She was rude and it made me mad. “This gentleman isn’t bothering anyone. I asked him to help me clean my windows.” She went off in a huff, muttering about calling security.
The man had a spray bottle of windshield cleaner and a roll of paper towels. The spray bottle wasn’t working right and the fluid kept spraying all over his hands. We started to talk. He said his name was Fletcher. He used to be a cook for Loaves and Fishes, but got laid off a few months ago when the grant funding dried up. He doesn’t have a place to live but said he’s number 17 on the list for transitional housing. He’s hoping to move into the new Resource Access Center when it’s finished.
I gave Fletcher twenty bucks, for which he was extremely grateful. He gave me a big hug and I wished him the best of luck. I almost forgot about him until later, when I was driving home. I could see out the windows. I mean, really see. Thank you, Fletcher.
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Suffering from giver’s block? That’s a new one, and totally appropriate for you, after all. I am glad that you got clean windows and gave Fletcher something for his efforts. And that those same efforts were noticed by you and communicated to me. That’s another kind of currency…
I love the idea of currency in all its meanings. Thanks for reading, DJan. And writing.
The inspiring stories of giving that you share with
us gives me the courage to continue with my efforts to share with others my own humble kinds of currency.
Many thanks for your courageous sharing of C-notes AND yourself! Pru
Awesome, once again! And I love the photos you include.
I am so glad you allowed Fletcher to keep his dignity rather than feeding in to the employee’s blanket description of “these people are a nuisance”. It was as if she were reducing him to the level of an insect. He asked you first. It is obvious by his smile that he has a sweet soul. You took the time to make yet another awesome connection. Thank you Jill.
I hate seeing people being treated like trash. No one deserves that. Thanks for reading! Jill